If you are considering getting into adding aerial shots for your YouTube videos, you are going to need to get a decent drone. You will also need to have a good camera to attach to the drone.
To the beginner, finding a drone may seem a bit overwhelming. But, seasoned vloggers such as Casey Neistat know that they can really add a lot to their vlogging experience, and to the viewer’s experience too. In this article we are going to look at best drones for YouTube vlogging (in our honest opinion)
But first, let’s talk about how to use a drone to capture amazing videos.
- 1 Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera RTF 4 Channel 2.4GHz 6-Gyro Headless System
- 2 DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video Camera
- 3 UDI U818A HD+ Drone with Camera and Headless Mode
Choosing and Using Your New Drone
The first thing you need to do is learn about your local Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aerial System UAS) regulations.
In addition to federal regulations, there may also be state and municipal regulations. Also, there are some standard safety guidelines that you will be required to follow, no matter what the regulations are:
- You must fly during daylight hours
- You must fly under 400 feet
- You cannot establish a direct line-of-sight
- You cannot fly in national parks
- You cannot fly over people
- There may be other guidelines for your municipality
Once you are aware of the rules and regulations, and you know which types of drones you are allowed to use, it is time to choose your drone.
The most common and easiest drones to get are quadcopters, and there is loads of support out there for them. Later we will learn more about our favorite drones.
Now you can decide what type of camera you are going to use, which is going to depend on the type of drone you choose. If you get a quadcopter that has a built-in camera, you won’t need to worry about getting another one, at least for now. The key is to keep the weight as low as possible, so your drone battery will last longer.
Next, you need to learn how to fly your drone. Please, do not attach a camera until you have become a proficient drone pilot. Otherwise, you could end up damaging, destroying, or losing an expensive camera. It is a good idea to join a drone club so you have others you can learn from. We will talk more about flying shortly.
Before you fly your drone, you should get into the habit of performing a pre-flight checklist. This only takes a few minutes, and it can help you get more flight time.
Things to check include:
- Calibrate the drone
- Test the battery charge
- Check out your surroundings
- Spin the propellers
- Check the motor shafts
Now it is time to get to know your drone…
You are ready to fly.
Make sure that start out simple. Avoid manually configuring the autopilot mode. You need to be able to get back to manual mode easily, so you need more practice before you start fiddling with things. Some drones have regular and expert modes. Stick with the regular mode until you get the hang of using the drone, and then you can move up to expert mode and start practicing tricks.
The more you practice, the better you are going to get. It takes a while, and you don’t need to fly fast. In fact, to get great videos, it is better to fly slowly, so you will need to practice this. It takes several seconds to get a fantastic shot.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day..
Once you start using your camera with the drone, it is a good idea to have a gimbal. This is a support that is pivoted, and lets the camera rotate on a single axis. You can get a low-end gimbal for around $100 to $150.
Here are a few more tips to consider:
- Tweak the Transmitter – To get slow, smooth shots, tweaking the transmitter settings can help reduce joystick sensitivity.
- Fly Through – The flight path and recording should begin before you get the shot, and end after it to be sure you get the entire shot.
- Be Careful about Flight Time – Make sure you have your flights carefully timed so you don’t end up running out of battery while the drone is still in the air. Get some extra batteries.
- Be Careful with Weather – It is a good idea to avoid shooting aerial videos in inclement weather. Also, do not shoot directly into the sun or in the same direction to avoid shadows.
- Plan Your Shots – If you have a plan in place, it is going to be easier to get the shots you really want.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best drones for YouTube vlogging.
The Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone comes complete with an HD camera, as well as a key return and headless security system. This makes it pretty difficult to lose your drone. It also comes with a bonus battery, so you can enjoy more flight time.
This is a great drone for fliers of all levels, including beginners, because it is so easy to use.
Altitude Hold Function – This feature lets you let go of the throttle stick, and the drone will continue to hover at the height it is at. This makes it super-easy to capture quality videos and images that you can use for your YouTube videos.
4-Ways Flip – You can flip left, right, forward, and backward, as well as do continuous rolls so you can really get creative with your action shots. You might even have so much fun that you forget you are recording anything.
Flight Range – You will enjoy a flight range of about 50-100 meters. You can fly for approximately 7-9 minutes before running out of juice. Then, you can use the spare battery. Be sure to give the drone engine a few minutes to cool down before you start flying again.
FAA Registration – A lot of drones must be registered with the FAA. You don’t have to worry about that with this drone. You can start using it right away without having to worry about breaking any laws.
- Accessories – This drone comes with everything you need to start flying and capturing videos and images right away. You will get the drone, a remote transmitter, two USB cables, two batteries, two landing slides, four extra rotating blades/propellers, four protecting frames, a screw driver, and the user manual.
- Minimal Assembly – It is easy to assemble this drone. Attach the landing gear with the screw driver, attach the blade protecting frames, connect the camera, and connect the battery. Once you are finished with these four steps, it is time to start flying.
- Durability – This may not be the most attractive drone in the world, but it is durable, and that’s what counts. If you do decide to fly at night, there are LED lights on the bottom (blue for forward and red for backward).
- Performance – Some users report that this drone does not work as it should. In some cases, it is impossible to control, and in others, it won’t fly at all.
The DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD quadcopter drone has a 2.7K HD video camera, so it is ready for you to start capturing awesome aerial videos.
You can watch a live image coming from up to one half mile away using the free DJI Go app for mobile phones and tablets. The drone will fly safely using GPS-assisted flight features, so you can work on getting awesome videos.
Modes – Get some really cool shots with the Follow Me, Point of Interest, and Waypoints modes if there is app feature availability. You fly for up to 25 minutes, so you are sure to get some pretty terrific video footage.
HD Video – Enjoy shooting in 2.7K HD video, and taking 12MP photos with the aerial camera that is built right into the drone. Be sure to update the remote control before you start flying and making movies.
Automatic Flight Assistant – A lot of people end up losing their drones, especially beginners. You don’t have to worry about that, because all you have to do is press a button and your drone will return to you, just like a boomerang.
Remote – The remote control, which was built just for this particular drone, puts you in complete control over the drone and camera. You will be able to choose exactly where it goes, and get exactly the footage you want.
- Accessories – There are loads of accessories included with this drone. When you open the box you will find a battery and charger, two complete sets of propellers, a radio controller, and an 8GB micro SD card.
- Ready to Fly – This drone is ideal for beginners, because there is very little you have to do to get it set up and flying. Use the Intelligent Flight modes while you are getting used to flying, and take photos or record videos with the press of a button using the mobile app.
- Gimbal – You don’t have to go out and buy a separate gimbal for this drone.
- Customer Support – Some users report that they have had difficulties with DJI customer support. They have reported no follow-through on complaints, and several of hours trying to get through to anyone.
The UDI U818A HD+ drone also has a camera, as well as a headless mode. This mode takes away the drone’s sense of direction. This means that the direction is the same as the transmitter, making this an excellent drone for beginners. Once you get the hang of it, you can do all kinds of flips and other cool stunts just by pressing a button.
HD Camera – Use this camera to take high-res aerial photos and videos. The camera is 2MP, and it comes with an upgraded 4GB micro SD card for additional photo and video storage. Shoot videos in 1280 X 720 at 30 frames per second.
Gyro Stability – This drone has 6-axis gyro stability. This ensures that it will be stable in a number of conditions, including heavy winds. This stability also makes it easy for you to do stunts and have even more fun.
Controller – The controller is a 4-channel, 2.4GHz transmitter with an LCD screen. You can see all of your flight status. The two joysticks allow you to move the drone in any direction so you can get all kinds of interesting footage.
Running Lights – This drone has LED running lights, as well as a signal light that works with the remote control. It is not recommended that you fly at night (and illegal in some areas), but if you do, these lights will help.
- Bonus Battery – This drone comes with a free, bonus battery. This is going to double your flight time. Keep in mind that drone motors can burn out, so let it cool off before you take off for a second time.
- Durability – The frame is made out of a plastic that is highly elastic. This frame protects the propellers while the drone is in flight, and it is also an anti-collision safety mechanism.
- Low Battery Alarm – Just in case you haven’t done all of the proper pre-flight checks, you will know if your battery is running low so you can get your drone back on the ground safely. You will hear a warning alarm when the battery is low.
- Batteries – Some users report that the batteries don’t long, and that they get very little actual flying time. It is also reported that the power bank charger doesn’t work much better.
So, if you want to add aerial footage to your YouTube videos, you need to have a good drone with a camera.
Any of the drones we have discussed today are ideal for beginners, and you don’t need to go out and buy a separate camera.
In time, you may find that you want a better quality camera, but for now, any of these will get you on your way to taking great aerial videos. Because, I mean.. Seriously, have you seen some of the footage that Casey Neistat captures? Absolutely breathtaking! You don’t want to have that kind of footage missing from your YouTube vlogs.